Help your family fight the flu

This post was written by Tony GiaQuinta, MD, PPG ­– Pediatrics.

As I get older, I find I'm less fond of surprises. Take, for example, a few days ago when I dropped off my 6-year-old at school, and he wasn’t wearing any shoes. Surprise! #DaddyDropOffFail

So, I try to take extra precautions to prepare myself for the inevitable, it goes like this:

The Inevitable: Henry must go to school with shoes on.

Preparation: Place 6-year-old’s shoes on doormat leading to garage before I go to bed.

Since this is a medical blog, here’s another one:

The Inevitable: The influenza virus will rear its ugly head once again this fall and infect millions (49 million last year), hospitalize hundreds of thousands (900,000 last year) and kill tens of thousands (80,000 last year).

Preparation: Get your flu shot!

You’ve heard the phrase, “Nothing is certain but death and taxes.” I’d add influenza to this list. No one should be surprised this year when influenza, and how it’s causing really healthy adults and children to get really sick, makes the news. This happens every year. But luckily, every year before flu season, a group of scientists, smarter than me and with hard-to-pronounce degrees, get together and figure out which strains of the flu will likely be circulating around, and develop a vaccine to prevent the spread.

Facts about the flu vaccine

Flu fact No. 1
The flu shot is not perfect, but it’s better than nothing. Even if the vaccine is only 60% effective, like it has been in years past, it still offers a chance of protection against a truly awful illness for everyone 6 months of age or older. It’s proven to reduce flu illnesses, doctor visits, and missed work and school, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalization. This pediatrician wants to remind you that the flu vaccine has also been shown to be life-saving in children.

Flu fact No. 2

The flu shot is really, really safe. It has been given for more than 50 years safely to hundreds of millions of Americans. Personally, I can’t wait to roll my sleeve up and get this poke to maximize my chance of protecting myself, my patients, my children, the people at the grocery store, and everyone else I might come into contact with.

There are a few reasons why an individual should not receive the influenza vaccine, and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has more information on those here.

Please note, the flu vaccine will not cause you to get the flu. It only contains parts of the virus to help your body develop a natural immunity, which means creating an immune response that sometimes involves soreness around the injection shot, mild body aches and low-grade fevers. Unlike the flu, these side effects are well tolerated and, compared to the actual flu, do not require hospitalization or missed school or work.

So, brace yourselves! Influenza is coming. But fortunately for you, the flu shot is available and ready to offer a line of defense. Just take your family to your friendly Parkview provider to get your dose of protection.

View our upcoming Flu Shot Clinic events here.

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